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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Statistical fallacies as they arise in political science (from Bob Jervis)

Bob Jervis sends along this fun document he gives to the students in his classes. Enjoy. Theories of International Relations Assume that all the facts and assertions in these paragraphs are correct. Why do the conclusions not follow? (This does not mean that the conclusions are actually false.) What are the alternative explanations for the […]

“I looked for questions on the polio vaccine and saw one in 1954 that asked if you wanted to get it—60% said yes and 31% no.”

Apparently there are surveys all over the world saying that large minorities of people don’t want to take the coronavirus vaccine. If it was just the U.S. we could explain this as partisanship, but it’s happening in other countries too. This seems like a new thing, no? When there was talk of the anti-vax movement […]

Meg Wolitzer and George V. Higgins

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a Meg Wolitzer fan (see here and here). During the past year or so I’ve been working my way through her earlier books, and I just finished Surrender, Dorothy, which was a quick and fun and thought-provoking read, maybe not quite as polished as some of […]

Multivariate missing data software update

Ranjit Lall writes: In 2018 you posted about some machine learning-based multiple imputation software I was developing that works particularly well with large and complex datasets. The software is now available as a package in both Python (MIDASpy) and R (rMIDAS), and a paper describing the underlying method was just published online in Political Analysis […]

“Men Appear Twice as Often as Women in News Photos on Facebook”

Onyi Lam, Stefan Wojcik, Adam Hughes, and Brian Broderick write: A new study of the images accompanying news stories posted publicly on Facebook by prominent American news media outlets finds that men appear twice as often as women do in news images, with a majority of photos showing exclusively men. . . . Researchers chose […]

Should we judge pundits based on their demonstrated willingness to learn from their mistakes?

Palko writes: Track records matter. Like it or not, unless you’re actually working with the numbers, you have to rely to some degree on the credibility of the analysts you’re reading. Three of the best ways to build credibility are: 1. Be right a lot. 2. When you’re wrong, admit it and seriously examine where […]

Come work with me and David Shor !

Open positions on our progressive data team: Machine Learning engineer – https://grnh.se/6713732b4us Software Engineer – https://grnh.se/15ee5a2e4us Devops – https://grnh.se/aa2bef714us We are a diverse team of engineers, data scientists, statisticians, and political insiders who are closely connected to some of the most important decision makers in the progressive ecosystem. We worked with central players to develop strategy and direct […]

Nudgelords: Given their past track record, why should I trust them this time? (Don’t call me Stasi)

An economist who wants to remain nameless sent me an email with subject line Hilarious and with the following text: https://www.amazon.com/Averting-Catastrophe-Decision-Potential-Disasters/dp/1479808482 The link is to a listing for a forthcoming book, Averting Catastrophe: Decision Theory for COVID-19, Climate Change, and Potential Disasters of All Kinds, by Cass R. Sunstein. The book “explores how governments ought […]

Justin Grimmer vs. the Hoover Institution commenters

I was curious what was up with the Hoover Institution so I went to their webpage and was pleased to come across a post, No Evidence For Voter Fraud: A Guide To Statistical Claims About The 2020 Election, by political scientist Justin Grimmer, with this clear summary: We focus on fraud allegations with the appearance […]

One more cartoon like this, and this blog will be obsolete.

This post is by Phil. This SMBC cartoon seems to wrap up about half of the content of this blog.  Of course I’m exaggerating. There will still be room for book reviews and cat photos.

Social penumbras predict political attitudes

More crap from PPNAS: The political influence of a group is typically explained in terms of its size, geographic concentration, or the wealth and power of the group’s members. This article introduces another dimension, the penumbra, defined as the set of individuals in the population who are personally familiar with someone in that group. Distinct […]

Scott Atlas, Team Stanford, and their friends

A recent comment thread revealed the existence of an organization called Panda: “Pandemics ~ Data & Analytics.” Its scientific advisory board includes Scott Atlas, the former U.S. government advisor described on the website as a “world renowned physician.” He’s now at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Atlas most recently appeared on Fox News to say, “It is […]

Hierarchical stacking, part II: Voting and model averaging

(This post is by Yuling) Yesterday I have advertised our new preprint on hierarchical stacking. Apart from the methodology development, perhaps I could draw some of your attention to the analogy between model averaging/selection and voting systems, which is likely to be more entertaining. Model selection = we have multiple models to fit the data and […]

What about that new paper estimating the effects of lockdowns etc?

A couple people pointed me to this article, “Assessing Mandatory Stay‐at‐Home and Business Closure Effects on the Spread of COVID‐19,” which reports: The most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for controlling the spread of COVID‐19 are mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures. . . . We evaluate the effects on epidemic case growth of more restrictive NPIs […]

“Enhancing Academic Freedom and Transparency in Publishing Through Post-Publication Debate”: Some examples in the study of political conflict

Mike Spagat writes: You’ll definitely want to see this interesting paper by Kristian Gleditsch. Research and Politics, a journal for which Kristian Gleditsch is one of the editors, has hosted several valuable rounds of post-publication peer review. One instance starts with a paper of mine and Stijn van Weezel which replicated, critiqued and improved earlier […]

Retired computer science professor argues that decisions are being made by “algorithms that are mathematically incapable of bias.” What does this mean?

This came up in the comments, but not everyone reads the comments, so . . . Joseph recommended an op-ed entitled “We must stop militant liberals from politicizing artificial intelligence; ‘Debiasing’ algorithms actually means adding bias,” by retired computer science professor Pedro Domingos. The article begins: What do you do if decisions that used to […]

No, this senatorial stock-picking study does not address concerns about insider trading:

Jonathan Falk writes: As you have tirelessly promoted, a huge problem with NHST is that “insignificant” effects on average can mask, via attenuation bias, important changes in subgroups. Further, as you have somewhat less tirelessly pointed out, you need much bigger samples to reliably see anything in subgroups, particularly when (ok.. you’re back to your […]

Flaxman et al. respond to criticisms of their estimates of effects of anti-coronavirus policies

As youall know, as the coronavirus has taken its path through the world, epidemiologists and social scientists have tracked rates of exposure and mortality, studied the statistical properties of the transmission of the virus, and estimated effects of behaviors and policies that have been tried to limit the spread of the disease. All this is […]

No, It’s Not a Prisoner’s Dilemma (the second in a continuing series):

The prisoner’s dilemma is the original counterintuitive hot take. Some social scientists and journalists just looove that dilemma because of how delightfully paradoxical it can be. But some situations that are described as prisoner’s dilemmas aren’t really. I discussed one such example in my article, Methodology as ideology: Some comments on Robert Axelrod’s “The Evolution […]

What do Americans think about coronavirus restrictions? Let’s see what the data say . . .

Back in May, I looked at a debate regarding attitudes toward coronavirus restrictions. The whole thing was kind of meta, in the sense that rather than arguing about what sorts of behavioral and social restrictions would be appropriate to control the disease at minimal cost, people were arguing about what were the attitudes held in […]

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